Intel's flagship Iris Pro integrated graphics headed to desktops for improved gaming

iris pro

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Intel graphics integrated inside the company's computer processors power the vast majority of all PCs, and now Intel has brought its most powerful version—Iris Pro—to both the desktop and to a new NUC.

Intel also announced a partnership with Raptr to help gamers automatically optimize Intel-based PCs for peak gaming performance. 

Intel’s graphics may be looked down upon by companies like AMD or Nvidia, but they’re the baseline graphics for most PCs. And as they get more and more powerful, even cheaper PCs can play more and more games. According to Chris Silva, the Intel director for premium notebooks, about 70 percent of all PCs use integrated graphics. Three million users per month are now downloading drivers from Intel’s Web site.

“We’re really getting to levels of performance enabling rich levels of gaming," Silva said.

Intel Iris Broadwell Mark Hachman

A pair of Broadwell notebooks running the lower-performance "Iris" integrated graphics.

Intel unveiled the latest integrated Iris graphics line with the new Broadwell chips it announced in January. An improved version of that—the 65 watt, socketed Iris Pro 6100—will be included in desktops beginning in the middle of 2015, Intel said, on the existing Z97 chipset. The non-Pro Iris integrated graphics will also appear in a New Unit of Computing (NUC) that Intel and its partners will sell, together with a 28W Core i7 chip. Intel did not disclose other specs or pricing.

Intel invited a number of game developers on stage to lend it some additional gaming credibility, and company executives announced an “Achievement Unlocked” one-stop shop for game developers. Intel’s Pete Baker, a vice president for software and services, pledged that Intel will remain committed to working with Microsoft and game developers.

Intel showed off Flying Mollusk's Nevermind, a psychological horror game that uses the Intel RealSense camera to assess your state of mind. Freak out, and the game gets harder. 

Intel, in fact, should receive an additional boost from DirectX 12, the next-gen graphics API that Microsoft is preparing. DX12 is written close to the metal, and Microsoft has said that gamers should see a 20 percent or so GPU improvement when using DX12 versus DX11, through a combination of CPU reduction and efficient multicore usage.

“This is like getting free extra kick from mediocre to awesome, or for awesome to out of the world,” said Bryan Langley, a principal program manager for graphics, with Microsoft.

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